Pennsylvania

"Justice Is Equitable Funding for ALL Our Schools"

Check out this amazing video chronicling Journey for Justice, a protest event held in Washington, D.C. in September! Advocates from across the country (including several OTL allies) traveled to the nation's capital to rally and march against school closures, which disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. Before being given the axe, these schools are often set up to fail: they're chronically underfunded and unable to provide the types of resources and opportunities students need to succeed. As the advocates in the video say, "Justice is equitable funding for all our schools."

Check out this amazing video chronicling Journey for Justice, a protest event held in Washington, D.C. in September! Advocates from across the country traveled to the nation's capital to rally and march against school closures, which disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. 

Picking up Steam: The Fight to End School Closures

A passionate group of advocates from across the country rallied in Washington D.C. last month to protest school closures and file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. The "Journey for Justice" event was just one of a rising tide of opposition to the unjust practice of closing down failing schools. According to an article in Education Week, the practice "has become the strategy of first instance, not of last resort," and is disproportionately affecting schools in communities of color. 

A passionate group of advocates from across the country rallied in Washington D.C. last month to protest school closures and file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. The "Journey for Justice" event was just one of a rising tide of opposition to the unjust practice of closing down failing schools.

PA Advocates Want Fairness in School Discipline

By Yesenia Rosado, Programs and Policy Coordinator, Education Voters of Pennsylvania

In Allegheny County in western Pennsylvania, Black students are suspended at nearly 5 times the rate of their White peers and twice the rate of Black students around the country. At a forum hosted jointly by the Education Law Center (ELC) and Education Voters of Pennsylvania (EVPA) on October 5th, advocates addressed the issue of school climate and the harsh discipline policies behind those dire statistics. Given the impact those policies have on the school community, advocates not only reviewed recent data on local school climate issues, but shared success stories of how other communities, organizations and school personnel are working to change their school climate.

Everyone knows that all students thrive when they learn in a safe school environment, but the reality is, this is not the case for most students. Zero-tolerance and harsh discipline policies are pushing students out of schools, into the streets, and at times, into prison. In Allegheny County, Black students are suspended at nearly 5 times the rate of their White peers and twice the rate of Black students around the country, according to data from the Office of Civil Rights

State: 

Who "Owns" the Schools? Why "Parent Triggers" Don't Help Struggling Schools

Susan Gobreski, Executive Director, Education Voters of Pennsylvania

Public resources belong to the broader community. We ask people who don't drive to pay for roads and people who have a house that isn't burning to pay for the fire department. "Parent trigger" laws, which enable parents of current public schools students to "take over" a school (usually to turn it over to a private charger management company), deny the rest of the community a voice. Instead of privatizing our schools, parents should work with teachers to demand change by fighting for equitable resources for their schools so that all students have a fair and substantive opportunity to learn.

The following post was written by Susan Gobreski, Executive Director of Education Voters of Pennsylvania, an OTL ally.  It was originally posted on the Education Voters PA Blog and is reprinted here with her permission. 

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How to Go from Mad to Movement Building: Webinar Recap, Video and Resources!

The OTL Campaign held its second webinar this week, this time exploring how advocates can use data documenting unconscionable disparities in access to educational resources to connect with allies and build a movement for change. It was an exciting and inspiring discussion! We spoke to Hiram Rivera, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Student Union, and Dan Losen, Director of UCLA's Civil Rights Project. Check out the resources we discussed and listen to a recording of the webinar!

The OTL Campaign held its second webinar this week, this time exploring how advocates can use data documenting unconscionable disparities in access to educational resources to connect with allies and build a movement for change. It was an exciting and inspiring discussion!

Free Webinar: How to Go from Mad to Movement Building!

Join the Opportunity to Learn Campaign (along with members of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, our partner in the Solutions Not Suspensions initiative) for a 60-minute webinar on October 3rd to learn how you can go from outrage over harsh school discipline polices to movement building! This webinar will examine how student organizers in Philadelphia were able to collect necessary data, build their coalition, and win a decisive victory bringing about alternatives to out-of-school suspensions.


Free Webinar! Solutions Not Suspensions:
How to Go from Mad to Movement Building

October 3, 2012, 2:00-3:00 PM EDT

Schott Foundation Releases "The Urgency of Now: 50 State Report on Black Males and Public Education"

The Urgency of Now: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males finds that almost half of Black and Latino males do not graduate high school in four years.  Without a policy framework that creates opportunity for all students, strengthens supports for the teaching profession and strikes the right balance between support-based reforms and standards-driven reforms, the U.S. will become increasingly unequal and less competitive in the global economy. Where does your state rank? Visit www.blackboysreport.org to learn more!

Journey for Justice! Advocates Protest School Closures in D.C.

Students, parents, teachers and other education advocates across the nation are fed up with school closures. And they're taking their protest to Washington, D.C this week! As Andre Dunbar, a student activist from the Philadelphia Student Union explains in a guest post on Anthony Cody's Education Week blog, "Journey for Justice" will take place on Thursday, September 20th. Buses will be arriving from Atlanta (GA), Boston (MA), Baltimore (MD), Chicago (IL), Cleveland (OH), Detroit (MI), Europa (MS), Hartford (CT), Kansas City (MO), Los Angeles (CA), New Orleans (LA), Newark (NJ), New York City (NY), Oakland (CA), Philadelphia (PA), and Wichita (KS), and advocates will rally at the U.S. Department of Education.

UPDATE: Join the discussion and follow live updates from the event on Twitter using #Journey4Justice and on Facebook!

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Journey for Education Justice 2012

Publication Date: 
Wed, 2012-09-19
On Thursday, September 20th, parents, students, and advocates from the across the country will be driving to Washington D.C. to protest school closures and advocate for supports-based reform policies. Journy for Justice is an event not to be missed! Check out the trailer below to learn more!

On Thursday, September 20th, parents, students, and advocates from the across the country will be driving to Washington D.C. to protest school closures and advocate for supports-based reform policies. Journy for Justice is an event not to be missed! Check out the trailer below to learn more!

Philly Students Win New Discipline Code Limiting Suspensions!

Thanks to the organizing efforts of students and advocates in Philadelphia, the School Reform Commission governing the Philadelphia school district has adopted a revised code of conduct that begins to rollback harsh school discipline policies. The new code gives principals more discretion in dealing with disciplinary issues and limits the number of infractions for which students can be suspended.

Thanks to the organizing efforts of students and advocates in Philadelphia, the School Reform Commission governing the Philadelphia school district has adopted a revised code of conduct that begins to rollback harsh school discipline policies. The new code gives principals more discretion in dealing with disciplinary issues and limits the number of infractions for which students can be suspended. 

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